In 2005, I was suffering from depression and alcoholism. They had such a grip on me that friends and family began to isolate themselves from me. My emotional state reached a low, and I eventually tried to end my life. In one week, I drank two gallons of whiskey, hoping the alcohol would end my life. It didn’t. Instead, I came out of my motel room alive and determined to get help. I went to the Veterans Affairs Hospital, and upon seeing my condition, medical staff began immediate treatment. In the week that followed I experienced painful withdrawal symptoms and was still depressed, but I never lost my determination to turn my life around. During this time, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 and began taking medication. Within a week of taking the medication I felt better than I’d ever felt and was able to focus on fighting my addiction.
I told a counselor at the hospital that I needed steady work and the counselor gave me two options: Work at Goodwill or work at the hospital; I chose Goodwill. I came to Goodwill as a participant in the Work Evaluation program and worked as a production associate in Goodwill’s former Glenwood Avenue facility for one month before transferring to the Pleasant Hill store. My mission was to stay sober and work hard for Goodwill for six months. Well, I stayed sober and I’ve worked hard for Goodwill for nearly five years – mission exceeded.
I’m now a Program Assistant at the Duluth Career Center and I support the Work Evaluation, Work Adjustment and Supportive Employment programs, which are designed to help people find and keep employment. Some of my responsibilities include tracking hours worked by participants and turning that information in to Goodwill’s Payroll department.
Now that I’ve accomplished the mission I gave myself years ago, my new mission is to find a place within Goodwill where I can help even more people. I have an interest in finance so working in the Finance Department is a future goal. I’m not only grateful I have a job, but I’m also grateful to be part of a company that changes lives.